WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) today applauded the enactment of H.R. 535, the Taiwan Travel Act, which President Trump signed into law Friday evening. Chabot, who has long championed strong U.S.-Taiwan relations as the anchor of peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region, introduced H.R. 535 last January, along with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-California) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) as original cosponsors.
“The signing of the Taiwan Travel Act is a historic moment in our relationship with Taiwan,” Chabot said. “This law will greatly improve dialogue between our two nations. Face to face meetings are a vital part of any bilateral relationship, which is why I have repeatedly said that restricting high-level visits by senior Taiwanese officials not only insults our democratic ally, but also impedes communication with a longstanding partner in the Asia-Pacific region. That is why the Taiwan Travel Act is crucial: it gives Taiwan the respect it deserves and enhances our diplomatic ties.”
Diplomatic visits between nations indicate the depth of their relationships. The Taiwan Relations Act, which was enacted in 1979, requires the U.S. to interpret any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the stability of Asia and of grave concern to the United States. However, for the past 37 years, high ranking Taiwanese officials have simultaneously been barred from direct diplomatic engagement in Washington, D.C.
The Taiwan Travel Act, states that official U.S. policy should encourage visits between American and Taiwanese officials at all levels of government and allow high-level Taiwanese officials to meet with U.S officials in Washington, D.C. Communication between Washington and Taipei would benefit from ending the United States’ self-imposed restrictions on high-level visits with Taiwanese decision-makers.
On January 9, the House passed H.R. 535 by voice vote. The Senate, under the leadership of Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), passed the legislation without amendment on February 28.